It seems like yesterday that folks were gathering in cities throughout the U.S. - marking the anniversary of five years of war in Iraq. (see my post from that event. But that was already a year-and-a-half ago. Here we are still engaged there - still losing soldiers, still occupying a country that never did anything to harm our country or our people. Here we are, six-and-a-half years later and five million Iraqi refugees later - not to mention tens and hundreds of thousands dead and a country divided and utterly destroyed. Like the song says - "War ... What is it good for? Absolutely nothing! Say it again!
Listen to Joan Osborne sing War!
Last week we marked another gruesome anniversary - eight years of war in Afghanistan. In response to the horrific attack on the World Trade Center, Bush decided to punish the Afghan people by invading and occupying that country. Tens of thousands of U.S. troops were sent to capture and punish several hundred terrorists, hiding out in the hinterlands. Never mind that, in eight years, the villains have never been found or caught ... Bush had bigger fish to fry in Iraq, a country that had nothing to do with 911 but that did have the world's 2nd largest oil reserves!
January, 2009 - enter a new President who inherited the Boy Wonder's stupendous mess created in eight years of hideous aggression, malfeasance and ineptitude. Obama would end the war in Iraq, he promised, and bring the troops home - hopefully this will be done and soon - yet to this day a full complement of U.S. troops remain in Iraq. On Afghanistan, Barack Obama painted himself into a corner from which he's now finding it hard to extricate himself. Declaring Afghanistan the "right war" (is there such a thing?) and trying to prove that Democrats could indeed be "strong" on national security, he vowed to conduct that war in a "smarter" way than Bush had done in Iraq. Well, truth be told, smart would be not succumbing to the war hawks and war profiteers in the Pentagon, the war corporations and the Right. Giving in to that crowd would not be smart but really, really dumb! Just ask Linden Johnson whose Great Society drowned, submerged by the Vietnam war.
Afghanistan is a morass in the making. Alexander the Great, the British and the Russians can tell you something about that. They failed miserably, with endless suffering to all involved, to occupy and dominate this aptly-named Graveyard of the Empires. The point? - that there is no military victory to be had in Afghanistan. Just more and more misery and death and destruction for the Afghani people. More young American lives to be cut short. More of our national treasure squandered while urgent problems at home go unattended. Isn't it amazing that the conservatives in both parties can wring their hands and rail about the unaffordable and extravagant expense of health care for our citizens? But, mind you, not an utterance from these same penny-pinching blowhards on, what Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel prize recipient and Professor of Economics at Columbia, calls the three trillion dollar wars!
Our President has also been given a Nobel prize -- for peace!
We ought to dismiss outright the mad rantings emanating from the bowels of the insane Right regarding that award and congratulate the President, but also congratulate ourselves for electing him in November of last year and putting an end to eight years of extremist damage and destruction brought to us by Cheney and Bush. But let us also realize, as did the Nobel committee so wisely understand, that peace has not yet been achieved and it will be up to the American people, once again, to demand the fulfillment of the promise that was made. And, yes, even though he said that Afghanistan was the "right" war, I believe that the President is having serious second thoughts about proceeding in the direction that the Pentagon generals have demanded. This is not a dumb President after all (unlike his predecessor) - he is well read and knows, full well, what escalation in Afghanistan portends for his Presidency, not to mention for the progressive goals that he enunciated during his campaign. He will need all the support that we can muster to push him and support him when he stands up to the warmongers. The cacophonous bellowing that will emanate from these war boosters, should Obama back away from pursuing an elusive military victory (whatever "victory" means), will be vicious, strident and unending. But we must remember one thing - They lost! We won! There's no reason to be depressed or defeatist. Let's stand up, as the majority that we are, and demand peace and the benefits of peace. That was what that election was all about - let's remember that and act on it.
Here are two events (I guess you were wondering when I would get back to that) taking place this week that can help build the demand for peace right here in little old Brooklyn. Both are being sponsored by my favorite organization, Brooklyn For Peace.
If you're in Brooklyn, please come out and join in.
But if you can't make it, consider making a generous donation to Brooklyn For Peace as it celebrates its 25 year anniversary. You can contribute easily online right here.
Twenty-five years of working for peace -- now that's an accomplishment you can believe in! Your donations will help support another 25 years - and we're gonna need a strong peace movment in the years ahead!
Thursday, October 15, 4:30 to 6:00 pm,
Brooklyn Borough Hall
(Joralemon St., between Court St. and Boerum Pl.)Protest Vigil:
Mark the 8th Anniversary of War in Afghanistan
and demand an end to the war NOW!
Sunday, October 18, 8:00 pm to 2:00 am
Concert - Brooklyn Get Radical!
at Public Assembly - 70 N 6 Street, Williamsburg
• Music - Hip Hop and other genres
• Spoken Word
• This will be for all ages - youth and older! This event will rock you and roll you and will raise much needed funds for Brooklyn For Peace, celebrating its 25th anniversary.
• You can order tickets online: Order Here,